Syrah is not unique to Tuscany. But it is also not unique to the Rhone, Spain, California or Australia. Some believe that local producers introduced Syrah to Tuscany during the 1970s “Super Tuscan” movement to plant Bordelais and Rhone varietals throughout the region. But many Italians claim Syrah as an Italian varietal. It is quite prevalent in Sicily, and there’s an argument that Syrah originated in Sicily and gains its name from the town of Syracuse. A good case can be made that Syrah migrated up into Tuscany from Sicily during the late 19th century.
Though it’s not unique to Tuscany, what makes Syrah unique in Tuscany is that it performs incredibly well there. The dense clay soils of Tuscany help produce small clusters and concentrated grapes with incredibly perfumed wines. And, there’s not a ton of it planted, so a single estate, single varietal expression of Syrah such as Baracchi’s all estate-grown Smeriglio Syrah from Cortona is a rare and unique gem.
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